The Birds of Meadowbrook

    A Bird-Friendly Winter Backyard in Montreal

    Watching birds on winter days from the warmth of your own home can offer hours of entertainment, as well as help you feel connected to nature.  It’s pretty simple to bring birds to your yard: offer the basic needs of food and shelter and they will come! Planting cedars and evergreens provides winter shelter, and offering different types of feed and feeding stations attracts a variety of birds.

    Birds we can expect to see during the winter in Montreal include house sparrows, blue jays, cardinals, hairy and downy woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, mourning doves and pigeons, robins, juncos and finches including common redpolls, pine siskins and house finches.

    Black-capped chickadee. photo credit: USTWS/John Carr, Wikimedia Commons.

    Foods and Feeders

    • Black oil sunflower seeds in a platform feeder will attract most birds
    • Shelled peanuts in a black metal tube feeder will bring blue jays, woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees
    • Suet cakes hung in a cage-type holder are enjoyed by woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees
    • Niger seed in a special tube feeder with small holes attracts finches. And this is one seed that squirrels don’t like!
    • Mixed seed (sunflower, corn, millet) in a platform feeder attracts cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, as well as ground feeders like mourning doves and juncos who will eat the millet seeds that fall to the ground while other birds pick out the larger seeds on the feeding tray.

    DO’s:

    – Keep feeders close to the house (eg. hang from the deck) to be easy for you to fill    each day and to see from your kitchen windows.

    – Follow weather forecasts and fill feeders before a snowstorm or extreme cold spell so birds can find food easily in harsh weather and to save you having to go out to fill feeders in bad weather. After a storm, you may be rewarded by a greater variety or unusual birds at your feeders.

    – Keep feeders filled in spring to help birds who are feeding their young

    – Buy basic (7×35) binoculars to enhance pleasure of watching birds from your window.

    – Download the bilingual List of the Birds of Montreal from www.birdprotectionquebec.org to keep a record of the birds you see.

     

    DON’Ts:

    – Don’t fill feeders to top (ration to help economize and to control squirrels)

    – Don’t feed ANY bread to birds – it provides no nutrition but fills them up but so they don’t feed on nutritious high energy foods.

    – Don’t let feeders go empty.

    Don’t use plastic or wood birdfeeders – squirrels will chew and destroy them

    Resources:

    Two key books to help you identify birds in your backyard:

    Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America by David Sibley

     Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America

    Bird Protection Quebec (BPQ)

    Check the website www.birdprotectionquebec.org for weekly guided field trips open to everyone year-round (except Dec). Monthly meetings in NDG allow members to share their sightings of birds and guest speakers offer knowledge and inspiration.

    Nature Expert, 5120 rue de Bellechasse, Montreal

    A one-stop shop for everything:  binoculars, birdfeed, feeders, books, bird baths.  Explore the website www.nature-expert.ca

    Mondou Pet Food Stores

    To find their numerous locations in Montreal, see www.mondou.com

    They sell birdfeed and a range of birdfeeders.

    Thank you to Sheldon Harvey of BPQ for help and tips.

    Volunteers Needed!

    Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook is a lively, dynamic group whose mission is to transform Meadowbrook, a 57-hectare green space that straddles the city of Cote St. Luc and the borough of Lachine, into an urban heritage nature park accessible to all. Members of the group are also involved in a great many ways in the fight to preserve green spaces on the Island of Montreal.

    If you would like to make a contribution and bring your special expertise to the table, here are a few suggestions:

    Communications Committee

    If you are a WordPress or a Wiki wizard, we would like to hear from you for help with our website (www.lesamsidemeadowbrook.org) and our ecomap project (www.montrealecomap.com). We could also use some help on our Facebook (www.facebook.com/sosmeadowbrook) and Twitter pages (@ParcMeadowbrook) and our petition on Change.org.

    Les Amis has started a tour of Lachine, Cote St-Luc, Montreal West, NDG and Westmount to inform West-End residents of green issues. If you have a suggestion for a venue or would like to help organize these events, we can certainly use your help.

    Guardians of Meadowbrook

    This is a special initiative to protect Meadowbrook until it becomes a nature park. A number of projects are under consideration: bird boxes and feeders (Meadowbrook is well known to birdwatchers), renaturalization, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter, access routes to the area, etc.

    Good research, collaborative and negotiating skills are required in this case.

    Sauvons la Falaise

    Les Amis and Sauvons la Falaise (www.sauvonslafalaise.ca) are partner organisationsSauvons la Falaise’s mission is the protection of the Falaise Saint-Jacques ecoterritory that stretches four kilometres from Montreal West to Westmount along St. Jacques Boulevard.

    Here is a special assignment, one best suited to geography buffs. We need to make a map of the Falaise with GPS coordinates. For those with a more political bent, we also need volunteers to follow the proceedings of the Bon voisinage Turcot meetings in NDG and the Sud-Ouest, as well as volunteers to attend municipal council meetings.

    Contact us at lesamisdemeadowbrook@gmail.com to learn more about Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook and help us make Meadowbrook accessible to all. Thank you for your interest!

    All Stakeholders Must Participate in Decision about l’Anse-à-l’Orme

    The report of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) regarding hearings on the future of l’Anse-à-l’Orme in western Pierrefonds “is a clear rebuke to the City of Montreal and the Borough of Pierrefond-Roxboro for their 10 years of cosy back-room dealings with land developers,” says Les Amis du parc Meadowbrook spokesman Campbell Stuart.

    The OCPM hearings, which took place in the spring, received 272 written briefs and heard from 73 individuals and organizations. Some 87 percent were opposed to allowing housing construction at l’Anse-à-l’Orme.

    Developers want to build 5,000 houses on 185 hectares of wetlands, woods, fields and former farmland on the shore of Lac des Deux Montagnes. Sauvons l’Anse-à-l’Orme and other environmental groups have spearheaded opposition to development.

    The OCPM report, made public on Sept. 29, pointed to a lack of consensus on the area’s future. The commission recommended that studies be completed on biodiversity protection, community benefits, economic viability of a new development, urban sprawl, transportation, and respect of international commitments pertaining to the environment.

    It also recommended that the urban planning exercise that is already underway for the area continue, but “this time, the exercise should involve all stakeholders, including citizens and environmental organizations, and set forth different scenarios ranging from protecting the territory as a whole to various ratios of protection and real estate development.”

    Stuart presented a brief on behalf of Les Amis du parc Meadowbrook during the hearings, and several members of Les Amis made individual presentations. The brief from Les Amis stated that l’Anse-à-l’Orme must be preserved and turned into a nature park, open and accessible to everyone.

    Les Amis suggested the area be preserved for its intrinsic environmental value to future generations. The brief argued the proposed development fails to meet Montreal’s own criteria for sustainable development since it does not protect natural areas, it promotes the use of automobiles and it does not revitalize existing neighbourhoods. Furthermore, it suggested the proposal should also be rejected for fiscal reasons, since taxpayers are being asked to subsidize speculative ventures for private profit.

    The OCPM’s recommendation is non-binding, however, Stuart noted that the report is an important milestone in the fight to save the the l’Anse-à-l’Orme corridor from destruction.

    A public rally will be held on Monday, October 2nd at 6:00 p.m. in front of the Pierrefonds City Hall (13665 Pierrefonds Boulevard) to discuss the report and its implications.